Single Source solution or Best-of-Breed?

I had a sense of déjà- vu the other day that took me back to the early days of digital broadcast in the late 90s. Do you remember when we were told that this new “digital stuff” was so difficult that the only solution was to buy a complete system from a single vendor as they’d already got it all working together (they said)?  In those days established broadcast companies such as Scientific Atlanta and Harmonic had semi-proprietary systems that only they could supply or interface to. Eventually standards became established, common interfaces were available and the industry went back to a Best-of-Breed procurement model.

Déjà vu – Is this happening again with cloud playout solutions?

Some broadcasters have recently opted for a single supplier for all elements of their cloud playout solution, presumably in the expectation that a single, all-in-one solution will minimise integration and interoperability headaches and make their life easier.

I wonder how long this will last? In the cloud and software world common interfaces and standards abound (REST, Json…) and everyone expects to be able to connect to cloud systems. In our world of broadcast and media delivery everyone has a special requirement or workflow and so has always tended to prefer best-of-breed solutions. Specialist suppliers with in-depth market knowledge of their niche have always flourished, I wouldn’t bet against this happening again with cloud playout solutions.

Matt Deakin

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